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Severance / new beginnings

by John Casasanta
October 13, 200833 comments

Mr. FixIt

It’s been a pretty long time since our last post. For good reason… I’m just going to get to the point and let everyone know that we’re in the process of splitting up tap tap tap.

A few weeks ago, I was about to announce the addition of a couple of new members to our team. But unfortunately that post got delayed and delayed as Sophia and I have been having some severe arguments over the direction of the company. Although it was a very tough choice to make, we decided that the best thing for both of us was to divide the company, its assets, and have us both continue on separately. This way we were each able to run things the way we want to without stepping on each other’s toes.

Our arguments ranged from the amount of money and effort to put into advertising and marketing to the design of the apps themselves. Because we each had an equal stake in the company, it was a very democratic process but very often our visions were at odds with each other’s. Moreover, we’ve been friends for a long time before starting the business and the whole thing’s really hurt what used to be a very close friendship.

In the few weeks since deciding that we’d split the company, we went through several attempts at coming to an agreement as to how we’d actually do it. Unfortunately we had a very hard time coming to a complete consensus and this made things drag along, leaving the company in a state of limbo for too long. But thankfully we’ve finally reached a deal that we both think is fair and that we’re happy with.

Under this arrangement, Sophia will get Tipulator and the in-progress I’m Here and Groceries. She’ll be publishing the apps under her Sophiestication brand. She’s done all the programming on Groceries so far so it makes sense that the app goes to her. She’s a good UI designer and I have faith that she’ll put out a great app even if the direction she takes it isn’t exactly where I would’ve gone with it. I’m looking forward to it because I’d like to replace my current shopping list solution with something better.

As for me, I’ll retain the tap tap tap brand and a bunch of apps that we had in early development but we hadn’t announced as of yet. The great team that we’ve assembled is staying with tap tap tap so I’m really happy about that. This means that Wolfgang will be contributing his amazing designs (and he still also plans to work with Sophia on finishing Groceries), Scott will be continuing to handle web/server-side things/app design/etc, and the two new programmers who I’ll announce in a separate post soon will continue to develop our current and future projects.

ghost town

Although our home page looks like a fancy ghost town right now, we’ll be filling this up soon with some nifty, new apps. It’ll definitely be difficult to basically be starting from scratch again but I’m always up for a challenge.

Wanna buy a hugely successful iPhone app??

Sophia and I simply couldn’t come to a consensus on what to do with our big hit, Where To. After waaay too much back and forth “negotiating” we narrowed our choices down to two: euthanize the baby or put it up for adoption. We decided to go the adoption route for it… well, more like put it up on the black market.

Where To?

Basically, Where To had gross sales of around $200,000 in the three months that it’d been available on the App Store. So instead of watching it slowly fade off into oblivion because we stopped marketing it weeks ago, we decided to pull it from the App Store. We’re now seeking a buyer for Where To and its assets. We’ll be selling it all to the highest bidder and Sophia and I will be splitting the amount we get for it.

I’m going to put out a post in the next couple of days detailing our plans to sell it off. Full details will be coming soon along with complete financials for it including the marketing costs, etc.

So if you’re looking to get your hand into the iPhone app game without having to start from scratch and you have some money and time to invest, here’s your chance. Where To’s a proven app, having been one of the top selling apps in the App Store since its launch, and the right buyer can easily make a very healthy, ongoing, steady income with it.

One thing, though… I simply don’t have time for questions from “tire-kickers” so you’re going to have to prove that you’re serious if you want to bid on it. Be prepared to put up a deposit in escrow to qualify yourself as a potential buyer.

So again, the details for the sale of the Where To assets will be coming very soon so stay tuned…

Getting back into it

While I feel like everything’s been at a standstill for the past few weeks, that hasn’t been the case at all. We have three new apps in various stages of development and a fourth will follow soon after one is released. The fourth is actually an app that has a bit of history with me and one that I’ve gotten many, many requests to have revitalized.

But while development has been progressing, the blogging has definitely died down. I’ve been really looking forward to getting back into it and now that we have resolution on everything, I definitely will be. I have a zillion posts in the queue and one of the first ones coming up will be a post on marketing iPhone apps that I mentioned I’d write if there was enough interest in it, which there definitely was.

And there’ll be much more to follow. One thing I’ve enjoyed the most about tap tap tap is actually the blogging. I haven’t done much of it in the past and I don’t feel totally comfortable with my writing abilities but I’m slowly becoming at ease with it. It kind of seems like blogging’s fallen out of fashion in today’s 140-character world but that’s not going to deter me. I’ve built-up a lot of experience over many years of being a developer and I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way. So if I could pass along some of what I’ve learned and help prevent people from making the same mistakes, I feel it’s all worth it.


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We’ve been creating top-notch apps since the App Store first opened. Our apps are used by literally millions of people in all corners of the world. A few of our favorite and most popular apps we’ve created are:


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33 comments

  1. Sebastiaan de With
    3:59am, October 13, 2008

    Good to hear of Tap-tap-tap again, although the news isn’t so bubbly, I am glad you guys are once again transparent about your intentions and very consciously making choices to keep the good things as they are. I’m interested to see in whose hands Where To will end up, and what’s over the horizon, from either Tap-tap-tap, and Sophiestication. Good luck to you both!

  2. Sophia Teutschler
    4:01am, October 13, 2008

    Thanks Sebastiaan, I’m glad to hear that. The last weeks were terrible but I’m confident that things will change for the better for all of us.

  3. Reinier
    4:08am, October 13, 2008

    I’m glad you found a way to continue the development of your great apps! Looking forward to the new apps.

  4. John
    4:19am, October 13, 2008

    So instead of one, we get two quality developers. Looks like iPhone users win, but hopefully you guys can mend your friendship. Back to work on those apps now…

  5. Andree Radloff
    4:54am, October 13, 2008

    That’s really very sad news. I found your international/intercultural iPhone company very interesting and wish you both the best for further projects.

  6. StuFF mc
    5:50am, October 13, 2008

    In some regards (miles away from you), I sometime have the same problem with Pomcast. This is the #1 reason why I always consider working alone :(

    I like you both guys, so I’m happy to read you found an “agreement”.

    Cheers.

  7. Jorge
    6:29am, October 13, 2008

    Good luck to both of you on your new projects.

    On Where To?, I look forward to that new post with the details of the sale. If you like, you can contact us once you have created the details.

    Best,
    Jorge

  8. Pedro
    8:01am, October 13, 2008

    Good luck to you both! I’m looking forward to seeing Groceries and the new apps.

  9. angelday true
    8:28am, October 13, 2008

    This is interesting for two reasons: one, you come transparent about it (this is a rare feat, albeit I can sense there was much stress between the lines), and second, sad, that in every case, where you can do 200k with three months, there will be power struggle between the founders.

    The company would have been better if you both had stayed together.

  10. Gernot
    9:00am, October 13, 2008

    I wish you both all the best. And that you both keep the openness about what you do and how. I really liked that :-)

  11. Itai Ferber
    9:24am, October 13, 2008

    It’s very nice to see you’re still keeping news about taptaptap very transparent, though it’s sad to hear about the company splitting up. Both you guys are wonderful programmers, and I’m really excited to see what you guys come up with next (whether working together or not).

    Since no one has asked this yet, what is the price range you’re willing to sell Where To? in?
    I’d guess no less than several thousand dollars, no?

  12. martin tobias
    11:18am, October 13, 2008

    Sorry to hear the mess, but I love the app. Send me details on the sale. I want to make an offer.

  13. Jordan
    11:22am, October 13, 2008

    John & Sophia,
    I am sorry it had to end like this. Its truly quite amazing what you’ve been able to pull off to-date with TapTapTap. I wish both of you the best with Sophiestication and TapTapTap.

    Keep up the good work, both of you!

    Jordan

  14. kc!
    12:30pm, October 13, 2008

    We wish everyone involved the best, and look forward to the brilliant projects that will clearly come from both sides of the resolution.

    http://LEGENDmag.net/thelegendonline/2008/10/13/breakups-are-hard/

  15. Dan Peterson
    3:48pm, October 13, 2008

    Wow, that’s too bad about the split. I hope you two can remain friends, you were both great to chat with at the last MW expo and seemed to have a very strong relationship.

    Good luck to the both of you!

  16. Luc Vandal
    5:12pm, October 13, 2008

    Good luck to both of you. Mixing business and friendship is never easy and I’m sure you’ll do fine business-wise while keeping your friendship intact.

  17. mike
    6:13pm, October 13, 2008

    You shouldn’t have pulled the app…potential buyers would like to try it out.

  18. MJWeb
    7:18pm, October 13, 2008

    Fascinating read. I appreciate your candor, John. Breakups are hard. I wish you all luck.

  19. Sluggo
    8:50pm, October 13, 2008

    Very sorry to hear of the conflict, but please, please, please put Where To? into good hands. It was one of my first iPhone Apps and still one of my favorites.

  20. Orian Marx
    10:15pm, October 13, 2008

    Sorry to hear this. Someone mentioned this on my own post about my failed startup. You guys obviously got a lot farther and have people using your stuff. How did that affect the decision making process? Were you equal partners?

  21. Peter
    1:36am, October 14, 2008

    Realizing you’re more an encumbrance than support to each other is incredibly hard. And it’s even harder when that means the end for one of the most successful iPhone software companies in its current form.

    That’s why I salute your decision. And I sincerely hope your friendship won’t be permanently harmed by these last few months. At the end of the day, that’s much more important than Where To or any other app.

  22. Javier
    2:26am, October 14, 2008

    John and Sophia,

    First of all, my best wishes for both of you in your new separate careers. You know, I am not an app developer, not in the business except as a customer, but I´ve always find your work inspiring. Thanks a lot for being transparent on this, that said as a customer and as a professional. There are not many markets out there where you can still see this kind of honesty and transparency.

    I perfectly understand the struggle and stress that sometimes being a business partner can produce, but please, please, now you´ve fixed your careers, fix your friendship. I am sure is much more worthy and valuable than your enterprises will ever be. I can seem to be an asshole for saying this, as I don´t really know you and this looks like a topic, but it´s always like that: this can be a good or a bad decision on the business side, but it´s always a bad decision and you will lose much more than a business if you lose your friendship.

    As I said, Good Luck with TapTapTap and Sophiestication

  23. Christopher
    2:45am, October 14, 2008

    I’m very sorry to hear about the irreconcilable differences with the direction of tap tap tap but life will go on.

    More importantly, I hope that you both will be able resolve your personal differences and rebuild your friendship some time in the not-too-distant future. Years on, the loss of great friendships over something that – in the grand scheme of things – is relatively trivial, is something I’ve come to regret.

    Best of luck to you both and I look forward to some great apps from each of you!

  24. DJCarbon43
    9:47am, October 14, 2008

    Its a total bummer to hear that you two are splitting up. T3 really seemed like a cool endeavor.

    I wish you both the best, and hope that in time your friendship will heal.

  25. Steven
    9:35am, October 15, 2008

    You guys have put together some great apps, I’m definitely interested in Where to. Shoot me an email.

  26. TokenFinn
    1:56pm, October 15, 2008

    This post gives me a lot to think about. Being involved on yet-to-be-announced iPhone project, there is much to learn from your experience.

  27. Ann
    1:08am, October 16, 2008

    200K gross means 140K after Apple withholds 30%, does not it? Or do you mean anything else by “gross sales”?

  28. Another Chad
    8:46am, October 16, 2008

    As the German expression says: “Die Welt ist ein Dorf!” I had no idea that one of the people of TapTapTap was also the maker of Coversutra. What a small world…

  29. Stephen
    10:03pm, October 16, 2008

    I noticed that Where To? has been removed from the App Store and went looking to see what happened and found this post. Sorry to hear about the break up. Where To? is one of my favorite iPhone apps.

  30. Csaba Kertesz
    7:59am, October 17, 2008

    I’m a huge fan of TapTapTap and I’m interested in Where To.
    If it’s not sold yet, please contact me about the details here:
    http://jdictionary-mobile.com

  31. Jeremy Horn
    6:46pm, October 17, 2008

    Thank you for sharing. I am recommending this to all my readers as part of their Weekend Reading…
    http://tpgblog.com/2008/10/17/the-product-guys-weekend-reading-october-17-2008/

    Jeremy Horn
    The Product Guy
    http://tpgblog.com

  32. Max
    10:56am, October 19, 2008

    I am also interesting in bidding (buying) the Where To? app.

  33. Yannik B.
    10:29am, October 22, 2008

    You two have made together some great apps.
    I’m very interested in Where to .
    Please send me an email and contact me about the details, if it isn´t sold yet.


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